Monday, April 2, 2012

my full attention

Someone recently posted this online, and their comment struck a chord with me. There are no cell phones, iPads, smartphones, bottled water, blackberries, or ear pieces. Just ashtrays and a carafe of water.

I am not anti-technology, but I do loathe my addiction to my smartphone. It has become my annoying personal assistant carrying my bag of meth around. It is my alarm clock, camera, notepad, and map. I am constantly checking email, weather, reddit, blog comments, facebook, etc. If there is a down minute where someone steps out of a meeting, or before a movie starts I see myself and everyone else sink into their devices. We are all alone together.

I understand the value of this tool. I understand my abuse of it doesn't make it a bad thing for anyone else. But for me it has gone too far. Starting today, my phone is just a phone. IF I need to check email, I will do what I would do if I need to make a call - excuse myself and go somewhere private. I'll be 100% at attention for the world around me today. The cats on reddit don't need me. The weather isn't going to change in 15 minutes, and my business can be attended to at my choice of time.

I don't want to miss the big show anymore.


Blogger seagoddess said...

Congratulations - I like this!

April 2, 2012 at 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said. We have become so disconneted from each other and technology is the tool that accomplished that.

April 2, 2012 at 7:53 AM  
Blogger Flartus said...

I don't have a smartphone, though I've often wished I had one. Sounds like I'm ahead of the game, and maybe I should keep it that way.

April 2, 2012 at 8:02 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

My husband calls a Blackberry a "Crackberry" because people that have them are always checking them.

April 2, 2012 at 8:07 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Hmmm... Sounds like a good challenge. You're on:).

April 2, 2012 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger Odie Langley said...

Good for you Jenna

April 2, 2012 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

When I am out in public, my phone stays put away. I keep the dataplan turned off so I am not tempted to mess with it, but generally - outta sight outta mind. Good luck!

April 2, 2012 at 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you mean. My cell phone is for emergencies only. I spend enough time on the computer at home; don't need to see who loves me when I'm out buying groceries!

April 2, 2012 at 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


April 2, 2012 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Good for you! I just finished reading "7: An Experimental Mutiny Againt Excess" by Jen Hatmaker and one of the things did in her journey to reduce excess consumption in her life was 30 days with NO texting/tv/gaming/internet/non-work e-mail/facebook/twitter, etc. She had to work surprisingly hard to not go online every ten minutes, it's amazing hoe addictive these technologies can be. You can do it!

April 2, 2012 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

I know exactly how it is..... I have an iPod touch and I am trying to stop being addicted to the internetz. I deleted my Tumblr because it was literally becoming unhealthy for me. I was on it all the time!
Plus, as a Christian, it distracts me from my faith. God deserves my time more than any device.
Love your blog, Jenna!

April 2, 2012 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger bree said...

Amen!! We have all gone mad. These things have certainly changed our lives and not always for the better. Thanks Jenna.

April 2, 2012 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

I am applauding you!! I did this years ago as I started to question why I felt the need to be accessible to people 24 hours a day. When I unplugged...the world did not end:) I find that I am more "in the world" now. And I can relax more and take life at a pace better for my stress level. P.S. broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, leeks,peas, and one tomato plant in garden (under a milk jug). Waiting for May to put in 75 tomatoes and 35 peppers!Illinois). Love gardening. 5 Sussex and 5 Cinnamon queen chicks on back porch currently!

April 2, 2012 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Good for you Jenna~! I'd love to hear your thoughts on giving up your tv the past few months as well, just whenever you get a chance :-)

April 2, 2012 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Marci said...

Good for you!! There is actually a movie out about this trend. It is called Captivated and it shows how the very thing you are talking about is taking over many people's lives.

April 2, 2012 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Margie said...

Totally agree with you, Jenna. I like to think I'm in charge and not the technology. Now, if I can just stay off the computer. Worried that after I retire tomorrow I'll spend too much time online. Have to set limits on myself.

April 2, 2012 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger Pit Stop Farm said...

Agreed and I support you completely, as I am trying to kick the habit as well. I was recently at a family get together and noticed that in a room of 4 people, all 4 were interacting with their phones rather than eachother. Very scary, this technology.

April 2, 2012 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Karen Rickers said...

OMG, I so agree. I was telling someone the other day that I grew up at a time when, if four friends went somewhere together in a car, we talked to each other, not to people in remote locations via text and cell!

April 2, 2012 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Hi Jenna,

First off, I'd like to say thank you. Not for this particular post, but for ALL of your posts. I just yesterday finished catching up on your blog....from the beginning. I'm a follower of Mr. Katz and through him was "introduced" to you and your blog. I was so intrigued right off the bat, that I decided to read it all. Wow. I started with Barnheart, and then the blog (this took me about 3 weeks during free-time). I consider all-together you gave us the equivalent of about 5 books....maybe more. I laughed, cried, smirked, dreamed, worried, and smiled a lot. What a gift you give! I've been talking about you non-stop to friends, co-workers and family. Although you are well beyond me as far as "go-getterness" (made that up), there's many commonalities too (which I'm thinking many of your readers/followers probably feel on many levels). I live in a suburb of Chicago, but spent all my summers and weekends growing up on a small farm we wented a cabin on in Northern Wis. (my mom was a pre-school teach so was able to get her whole summers off- dad came up when he could get off work or weekends) Through the years, we raised our own pork, beef, had chickens, had a horse, I milked the cow in the mornings (mostly when my mom was in her ginormous garden and needed my help elsewhere), collected eggs, etc., etc. We always had 2-3 dogs, several cats and other various pets. Some of my most font memories were butchering season (just the togetherness, the feeling of filling the freezer with our own pork, beef, etc. - best. meat. ever.) I adored those crisp fall days making sausage with my mom! You've brought me back to to so many wonderful times, feelings and experiences. I was a lucky lucky girl and so, my friend, are you. You have a loyal follower here- I will be here cheering you on and thoroughly enjoying all you share with us each day! I also would love to make it to one of your workshops (and bring my 18-yr-old nephew who is a HUGE Iron & Wine fan and will bring his banjo & guitar). It would be a fun road trip for sure. Sorry I've blabbed on, but couldn't be helped. (feel lucky, I could actually go on for I'm absolutely going to donate today, not only for Merlin's new home and for the next chapter of Birchthorn, but for all the hours of enjoyment you've brought me...once again THANK YOU!

p.s. funny thing I'm responding on this particular post, as it is my iPhone which allowed me to take you and your blog with me to my backyard or to the woods to read many times, rather than be stuck in the house on the computer. I guess there's good n bad in all things, eh? ; )


April 2, 2012 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger Melina said...

I went to the Apple store to replace my power cord. I was overwhelmed how many customers were in there. I have an iphone but don't use any apps except the camera. I took the Facebook app off my phone for the exact reason that you are saying.

April 2, 2012 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger Thistledog said...

My friend and I were just discussing this at dinner last night, this phenom of everyone sinking into their phones in public. Whole families at restaurant tables, not speaking, heads bent, thumbs twiddling, each in their own universe.

What on earth has happened to us? We have to choose when to use them, you are so right.

April 2, 2012 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger Oxray Farm said...

On Saturday Jake and I went out to breakfast and saw the perfect example of this. Mom and Son at a table, Mom on cellphone, Son with book and headphones on. They were two feet apart, but worlds apart.

All alone together.

I love my technology, but all I have is an emergency cell phone that gets charged once a month and stays off in the car in case I need it. I appreciate it's security, but I refuse to let it own me.


April 2, 2012 at 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

100% agreed!
My 8 year old keeps asking me for a cell phone and I am ADAMENT that that will NOT happen until said child can take and hold a job to pay his bill for it!!!
My sister-in-law is using the "get all A's" carrot for a cell phone for her 10 year old. GEEZ! Who the hell does a 10 year old need to talk to?!?!?!? Sorry - ranting.

Good for you!

April 2, 2012 at 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in. It's sad and I'm guilty. While our family was out with the flu last week, I saw how it has crippled us, no longer able to entertain ourselves without iPods, iPads and smartphones. I'm in, but it won't be easy.

April 2, 2012 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

While there have been times it would have been handy to have, these are the very reasons I've kept my "dumb phone" (an old Casio Gz'One Boulder.) Darn near indestructible, and the interface for doing anything "smart" on it is so poor that there's no inclination to use it. Also, dumb phone = lower phone bill (no data plan.)
I fear when I have to replace it, I won't have any dumb phone options.

April 2, 2012 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Your post almost makes me glad I don't have a smart phone (can't afford the monthly data plan).

April 2, 2012 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger PattyW said...

Crap - now I have to check out Reddit.

April 2, 2012 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger karental said...

The other night Mister and I went out for sushi. We took a cribbage board with us and played while we waited and while we ate. The whole time we chatted, laughed, talked about our day, our chickens, our (grown) kids. A couple came in about the same time and sat down next to us. The tables are very close. The couple ordered and then disappeared into their respective phones. They didn't talk the whole time. Usually I wouldn't notice, but I was thinking how sad it was.

April 2, 2012 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger South Brunswick Public Library Blog said...

Two thumbs up Jenna! You will appreciate then the international recognition of Screen-Free Week - begins April 30 - they have a base in Washington DC. Liked your quote.."all alone together" ..sums it right up.

April 2, 2012 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Yeah, my brother-in-law calls my sister's Blackberry phone her "crack-berry"....she's addicted!

April 2, 2012 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Black said...

I agree!

April 2, 2012 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Haley said...

Here, here!

April 2, 2012 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I also notice all white men.

I'm using my phone to fill down time and wondering if I'm cheating. I have always read while I wait and it's so much easier to carry a phone than a book. We never allow technology at the dinner table and we eat as a family every night. It shows. Our kids know that we'll be there and that we expect them without iPods. That said there is plenty of technology in our house. Sometimes we master it and sometimes not.

April 2, 2012 at 2:07 PM  
Blogger Kimberlie Ott said...

I have an old school communicator, although when I upgraded they did not have one without a camera. I look around at family gatherings, in a very large family blend, and many, many people are in a room, zoning out and away from each other. We lost alot when we gained "smarts", and there is alot to be said about how careful people spoke, or chose words, back when they knew Mable or Gretta (phone operators, remember those? Not you Jenna LOL!) were listening in to every word while transferring calls~ Your on the right track. Just so long as I can still read this blog!~ LOL~

April 2, 2012 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger KiwiGirl said...

I don't have a smartphone but have contemplated getting one. Thing is I don't actually need one, but it seems that that's the way the world's going. So far, I have a regular cell that is used for calls and the odd txt (once in a while). I don't have a Facebook page either. Maybe I'm not as much of a Luddite as I once thought....

April 2, 2012 at 4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. I have a regular, cheap-o cell phone that has NO internet. I use my cell phone very rarely, and even less for texting. I haven't given up the landline, so I'm not getting all into the high-tech. My cell is strictly for when I NEED to call, or someone NEEDs to call me and I'm not at home.

I hate that everyone's head is down doing their thing on their personal assistant all the time. I work in a medical facility and need to check people out as they leave. When they come out of the exam room, they already are on the phone, either talking or texting, despite the many signs that ask them to keep it off till they return to the lobby. They don't look up long enough to see the signs, including the one that is right in front of them as they sit down across from my desk. I need their full attention for about 5 minutes and I have to beg for it or wait for it. Hate it!

Good for you for agreeing to be present in the "present."

April 2, 2012 at 5:23 PM  
Blogger ican said...

Good observation, Kate. I saw the same thing.

And I have to say that I do like my iPhone, but I'm never on it in public. I've also never had a Facebook/twitter/tumblr, etc. account. Just don't see the need - I'd much rather interact face to face, or if that's not possible, then a phone conversation is nice. So is facetiming, though, when it's someone far away (thus my appreciation of my iPhone). Of course, I've always been an "everything in moderation" kinda gal. Except for simple carbs/sugars. Those things'll kill you! ;)

April 2, 2012 at 5:39 PM  
Blogger pawsfurme said...

The main reason I got a smart phone a couple of years ago was to have access to weather radar for my business. If there's a snow storm approaching, I want to know about it asap so I'm not inching my monster work vehicle home in the slippery sludge. That being said, I have no games, no apps on my phone. I recently "upgraded" from the original Droid phone to the new iPhone because my Droid was having problems. I hate the iPhone and want my Droid back. Granted, Siri is fun to dictate reminders to occasionally, but I don't, and will probably never fully exploit the powers of the 4S and I don't care. I use the internet to get immediate answers to questions I may have about problems with my goats while I'm tending to them at the barn. (Saved my butt a few times, that has). Even on my laptop, I am very rarely on facebook, and even more rarely do I post an related, usually. I do enjoy seeing what other acquaintances are up to every once in ahwile. I used to think myself quite up-to-date on all the technological "happenings" but have recently come to the realization that there is more out there that I don't know about and don't use (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc). I get irritated when people send me a message via facebook rather than directly email me because I have to log in to reply and then I get sucked into reading the last several days or weeks worth of updates which loses me hours of otherwise productive activities. It's a bit depressing to know that the rest of the world is pressing on without me in the world of technology, and no one is staying behind with me to enjoy my new adventures in farm life. Once again, my life long desire to feel part of a clique has been thwarted. Ah well. Back to my goats and chickens. :)

April 2, 2012 at 5:43 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

The best advice I ever got (from a former boss) is "the person in front of you is more important than the person (or in this case app) on the phone."

April 2, 2012 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger marilyn said...

It is hard for some people to believe that I went to college, got a Master's degree, worked 28 years as a nurse and then retired without ever having a cellphone, computer, answering machine, etc. Life doesn't have to be so technical that one forgets to slow down and smell the roses and the coffee!

April 2, 2012 at 8:08 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I agree with you completely! I am the only person I know who has never sent a text and has only the cheap, almost free phone you get with your phone service. My husband and I also gave up our land line phone about 12 years ago and you would not believe how peaceful it made our house. You can ignore your cell phone but a house phone ringing is like a fire alarm jolting you out of whatever you are doing. Good luck on "cutting the cord."

April 2, 2012 at 8:19 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

loved these comments!

April 2, 2012 at 8:51 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

"Alone together". That sums it up for me.

April 2, 2012 at 10:51 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I found myself taking my phone out while working in the garden and had to stop. That is my serenity time, i don't need to know everything going on the rest of the world. I need to be paying attention to here and now.

I'm trying to back away from being so connected, it's encouraging to read about others doing the same. It's become an epidemic, people need to relearn how to focus. Myself included.

April 2, 2012 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger Katy said...

They put something in that Reddit so you get addicted. There was a study...

April 2, 2012 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger Katy said...

They put something in that Reddit so you get addicted. There was a study...

April 2, 2012 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger Katy said...

They put something in that Reddit so you get addicted. There was a study...

April 2, 2012 at 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like what you said about the tech decision really being a person by person thing. I refuse to get a smart phone because I think I'd have my head buried in it and I'd miss seeing things and using time in waiting rooms and lines for meditation.

On the other hand, I love my Kitchen Aid mixer and food processor. Each time I use them it's a bit like Christmas again (both were presents). And I know that there'd be war in my house if the dishwasher wasn't there and we had to decide who was stuck doing dishes.

I love to dry my clothes outside in the warm weather, but never thought of the freeze dried method. I'm curious to try this out (hopefully not any time soon).

Oh and I must say that GPS for the car, while not necessary has made going someplace new SO much more enjoyable. No arguing over abilities to read maps/directions. Very little second guessing. When a gadget can bring peace, that's pretty wonderful.

April 4, 2012 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger rahul khan said...

I don't have a smart phone and I'm happy.Even I don't need it.Because I can't effort it.sell my house

April 5, 2012 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger heather said...

i totally agree--people are losing the ability to pay attention, to interact, at an alarming clip, and i'm secretly terrified of what this means for, say, my two year old nephew and beyond. (although sometimes i'm superglad to have my phone in my hand...waiting for the bus in los angeles, with creeps circling nearby, for example. you're more invisible staring into a phone than into a book, i find (the book is for ON the bus).)

though, what kate said...there are no cell phones in that pic, sure, but there are no women, no people of any color other than white...important elements to remember when falling into "the olden days were better!" nostalgia

April 6, 2012 at 9:55 AM  

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